Changes on the Horizon - 3 Workforce Trends for 2018Jan 05, 2018
With the arrival of a new year comes the perfect chance to game plan for your business.
While you’re no doubt working on the budget and setting goals for 2018, don’t forget to look out for growing trends relating to attracting the best talent. Our world, whether in business or at home, changes faster than ever before. If you aren’t looking down the tracks for what’s coming, you’ll end up in danger of missing your train. To avoid this fate, I wanted to share with you some business practices that show no sign of slowing down this year.
I’m always on the lookout for the latest patterns emerging in the business world. Sure, that’s part of my job, but I also find it genuinely interesting. While I was aware of the three trends I’ll be discussing below for a while, the first time I heard them all grouped together was in a talk by Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. “When it comes to the changing workforce, there are three themes I believe are worth calling out: AI and automation, the skills gap, and the rise of the independent workforce,” he says.
AI and Automation
AI and automation are on the rise every year, and it’s important to understand just how big of a role they will play. In Weiner’s talk, he mentioned that 50 percent of jobs in this country could be done by AI using only the technology we have now. And that technology is only going to get better. If you look around your office, I bet you can find more than a few tasks that are currently handled by people that could just as effectively be accomplished through automation. Choosing between a new hire and a robot isn’t an easy decision, but it’s one you may have to make sooner rather than later.
The skills gap isn’t quite as easy to identify as automation, but it’s just as important. The easiest way to define the skills gap is to say that it occurs when jobs are available, but there’s nobody with the skills to fill them. That’s how we end up with unfilled jobs while still having people unemployed. This trend manifests itself differently in every industry. Take a look at the skills required from your workforce, especially emergent skills, and be on the lookout for candidates to fill them.
The skills gap also affects voluntary turnover, something every business owner wants to avoid. If you have employees with precious talent, you may want to consider locking them down before a competitor does.
Rise of the Independent Workforce
Speaking of locking down employees, it’s getting harder and harder to do so. Many workers, especially millennials, prefer juggling freelance gigs and side hustles to a steady, single source of employment. Also, consider that companies like Uber, which rely on independent workers, are becoming more of the rule than the exception. Many companies also prefer to hire contract workers, increasing their demand in the marketplace. The downside is that while you may be able to count on these contractors to do a great job, you can’t expect any loyalty from them.
All three of these trends will have an impact on the revenue generated per employee. While it may be harder to find traditional, full-time staff, you can expect to get more out of the team you do have. Treat your full-timers, particularly the highly skilled ones, as a precious commodity. They may become rarer birds as these trends continue to evolve over the coming years.
Now, I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, telling you that if you don’t watch out the ground will shift beneath your feet. All I’m saying is that you need to be mindful of these trends if you want to get the most of your workforce in 2018 and beyond. That seems as fitting a message as any to kick off the new year.